Most 3-D movies are "crap," said "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuarón earlier today during a press conference at the Zurich Film Festival, where the 3-D "Gravity" will screen tonight. "The problem with 3-D is that it's been completely misused...The problem now is that they make all these films that are not designed for 3-D and then convert them as a commercially afterthought and they are crap. They don't follow the rules of 3-D of what does and doesn't work."
Until recently, when directors have begun to truly experiment with 3-D and use it to enhance storytelling, rather than use it as a marketing gimmick or a ticket price maneuver, Cuarón might have been right. But, as he pointed out, "there are a handful of films that have used 3-D in a proper way so it can be an amazing tool." That's an understatement.
The list of directors who have recently used 3-D to great effect includes Steven Spielberg ("Tintin"), Baz Luhrmann ("The Great Gatsby"), Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Wim Wenders ("Pina"), Werner Herzog ("Cave of Forgotten Dreams") and Ang Lee ("Life of Pi"), among many others. That's not even including the upcoming 3-D films from Jean-Pierre Jeunet ("The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet"), Dario Argento ("Argento's Dracula 3D"), and "Metallica Through the Never," directed by Nimród Antal, which opens today -- as well as "Charlie Victor Romeo," which will screen at The NYFF Convergence on Saturday. Then there's "3X3D," the 3D anthology film by Greenaway, Edgar Pera, and Jean Luc-Godard, which screened last May at the Cannes Film Festival. Wenders is spearheading "Cathedrals of Culture," a six-part 3-D documentary project directed by Robert Redford, Michael Madsen, Michael Glawogger ,Karim Ainouz, James Marsh and Wenders himself.
Today's 3-D boom is less about the "coming at you" gimmicks of yesteryear and more about creating an immersive experience for the audience.